with us. i want to thank my family members who came. it would have been my great uncle robert kennedy's birthday today. and while we are on the subject of birthdays, you are all invited to my 21st. 1960 three, my grandfather, president john f. kennedy, formally established the annual presentation of the presidential medal of freedom. madeing persons "who have exceptionally meritorious contributions to the security and national interests of the united states, to world peace, crotch role, or other significant doublet or private endeavors." my grandfather, a veteran of world war ii, a u.s. congressman and senator and president, use the avenue of public service to make his kind basins to this country, this planet, and all men. he recognized his path was but one of many and that service can and does manifest itself in different ways. years, the middle of freedom has been awarded to artists, painters, musicians, composers, dancers whose expressions prompt our own reflections. roles who sees our imagination. two poets and authors whose stories stir our souls and make sense of our struggles.